Fast Castle.

Start. Dowlaw.

Route. Dowlaw - Telegraph Hill - Fast Castle - Telegraph Hill - Dowlaw.

Notes. No one seems to know whom decided to build a castle on a sea stack, but they certainly picked a wonderful atmospheric location. It certainly pre-dates 1346 when it was occupied by English troops, records show Margaret Tudor stayed overnight in 1503 as did Mary Queen of Scots in 1566. In it's heyday it comprised of a courtyard and keep linked to the mainland by a wooden drawbridge 148ft above the crashing waves. This is a short walk, I didn't intend to include it, but a location such as this should be shared, so come for a wander with us, the descent is steep, the ascent a real lung buster but it's worth every painful step.

We parked in the car park next to Dowlaw Farm just north of St Abb's Head, immediately on leaving the car a finger-post invited us to Fast Castle, ¾ mile down hill all the way. We descended through a strip of woodland before crossing Telegraph Hill, across heather clad slopes with staggering views along the coast we descended, the path got considerably steeper before a flight of steps eased the gradient, back on steep ground we passed above a deep gorge before reaching the castle, unfortunately not a lot remains, just a few walls, the rest has been claimed by the sea. We sat ages drinking in the atmosphere, gazing down on small colonies of sea birds, then up to spectacular cliffs lined with sea pinks, I guess we were just postponing the inevitable, the leg burning, lung busting climb back to civilisation, with trepidation we re-traced our steps, slowly with care and lots of stops for photographs.

view route map.


Viewing the Lammermuir Hills from Telegraph Hill.

Sue strides out eager for a first glimpse of Fast Castle.

Stunning views along the North Berwickshire coast, the principle features North Berwick Law and Bass Rock,

"That's it" it may not look much but when you get there the atmosphere is electric.

Dizzy views below the toe of the boot on the approach to Fast Castle.

From Fast Castle views to the sea stack on Souter Point.

Looking down on the jumble of rocks, caves and bubbling seas at Black Mask.

Atmospheric definitely, sad certainly, worth the effort absolutely.

Souter Point as seen from Fast Castle.

Another staggering view along the North Sea coast, the Lammermuir Hill, Torness Power Station and the volcanic plug of North Berwick Law.

The atmospheric remains of Fast Castle.

Views from the steep slopes above Black Mask and The Nick.

The view from the parked car, I can make out North Berwick Law and Bass Rock plus a nuclear power station and a cement works, but guess what, not a wind turbine in site, a staggering view it is.

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